Race and History in Brazil (Denying Brazil / Aleijadinho: Passion, Glory and Torment)

Posted in Biography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Videos on 2012-05-09 21:01Z by Steven

Race and History in Brazil (Denying Brazil / Aleijadinho: Passion, Glory and Torment)

Facets Multi-Media
2000 (Release date 2011-02-22)
192 minutes
Product Code: DV100942 (2-DVD set)

Joel Zito AraĂşjo
Geraldo Santos Pereira

Race and its impact on the art and history of Brazil are highlighted in this two-disc set. Joel Zito AraĂşjo’s documentary Denying Brazil (A Negacao do Brasil, 92 mins.) analyzes contemporary Brazilian soap operas, calling attention to the ways archetypes and stereotypes influence identity in the Afro-Brazilian community. Well-known soap actors Milton Gonzalvez, Zeze Mota, and Maria Ceica offer provocative comments about their experiences. This is joined by Geraldo Santos Pereira’s Aleijadinho: Passion, Glory and Torment (Aleijadinho: Paixao, Gloria e Suplicio, 100 mins.) a fictionalized drama about the life of 18th century sculptor Antonio Francisco Lisboa, also known as Aleijadinho. Born the son of a slave, Lisboa struggles with prejudice, mental illness, and disease, but never stops expressing himself through his art. The story unfolds in flashback as a professor investigates the tragic life of the artist. In Portuguese with English subtitles.

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Professor Mary Beltrán to be Featured Guest on Mixed Chicks Chat

Posted in Audio, Communications/Media Studies, Interviews, Latino Studies, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2012-05-09 17:39Z by Steven

Professor Mary Beltrán to be Featured Guest on Mixed Chicks Chat

Mixed Chicks Chat (Founders of the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival)
Hosted by Fanshen Cox, Heidi W. Durrow and Jennifer Frappier
Website: TalkShoe™ (Keywords: Mixed Chicks)
Episode: #255 Professor Mary Beltrán
When: Wednesday, 2012-05-09, 21:00Z (17:00 EDT, 14:00 PDT)

Mary C. Beltrán, Associate Professor of Media Studies
University of Texas, Austin

Mary Beltrán an Assistant Professor of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas at Austin, is of Mexican and German, English, and Scotch Irish heritage. Her research is focused on the production and narration of race, ethnicity, gender and class in U.S. television, film, and celebrity culture, with an emphasis on Latina/o and mixed race representation. She is the co-editor (with Camilla Fojas) of Mixed Race Hollywood (NYU Press 2008), an anthology of scholarship on mixed-race representation in film, television, and new media. She also is the author of Latina/o Stars in U.S. Eyes: The Making and Meanings of Film and TV Stardom (University of Illinois Press, 2009), which explores the construction and marketing of Latina and Latino stars in the U.S. in relation to the evolving status of Mexican Americans and other Latinos since the 1920s. Mary is a former journalist and social worker; her experiences working in San Francisco with Latina and African American teens and interest in the complexities of popular culture and its impact on young people of color spurred her to pursue a career that would allow her to combine her various interests and conduct research at the intersections of race, class, and gender and entertainment media studies. Since becoming a faculty member of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and now the University of Texas, Beltrán has taught a variety of classes on race and entertainment meida, including first-ever courses at both universities on Mixed Race and U.S. Media Culture. Aside from her books, she has published on such topics as mixed-race actors and characters in U.S. media culture, racial representation in millennial television, ethnic media activism targeting the television networks, and the racial politics of beauty and body ideals as reinforced in Hollywood media productions. She has been conducting research for a new book, Post-Race Pop: Interrogating Racelessness in Millennial Media Culture. Post-Race Pop explores the emphasis on racial ambiguity and utopic presentations of racial and ethnic diversity in contemporary television and other millennial media culture, particularly in light of the imperatives of the media industries to appeal to an increasingly diverse audience and popular political rhetoric that has utilized notions of post-racial America to widely divergent ends.

Selected Bibliography:

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The Land of Miscegenation: Is the Racial Democracy Theory in Brazil a Myth?

Posted in Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Science on 2012-05-09 17:02Z by Steven

The Land of Miscegenation: Is the Racial Democracy Theory in Brazil a Myth?

Morgan State University
May 2005
86 pages
Publication Number: AAT 1430902
ISBN: 9780542025518

Makini Ramisi Chaka

A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts

This research is designed to show that Brazil’s racial democracy theory, founded in the early-20 th century by sociologist, Gilberto Freyre, is a myth. The theory states that miscegenation, acculturation and assimilation created a cultural mĂ©lange that made all races equal. However, severe social, economic, and political oppression of non-whites, specifically African descendants in Brazil have forced the country to reevaluate its national endorsement as a racial democracy.

The author explores three of the fundamental factors of the racial democracy theory, (1) miscegenation, (2) race vs. class, and (3) social and legal discrimination. In addition the author uses comparative analysis methodology from a cultural studies disciplinary approach to evaluate the arguments of proponents and opponents of the racial democracy theory. The opponents led by Florestan Fernandes in the 1960’s reveal white supremacy as the dominating form of race relations between blacks and whites in Brazil by examining racial mixing, race and class disparities, and forms of discrimination. This research focuses on the effects of those factors upon the Afro-Brazilian population, which distinctly occupy a subordinate place in society.

The conclusion reached by this author is that the racial democracy theory is a myth of the powerful white elite. The myth not only denies racial identification and a shared ethnic identity of African descendants in Brazil, but it also suppresses racial mobilization and denies them a right to legal defense.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1
    • Introduction
    • Statement of the Problem
    • Background of the Problem
    • Purpose of the Study
    • Importance of the Study
  • Chapter 2: Literature Review
  • Chapter 3: Theoretical Framework
  • Chapter 4: Miscegenation
  • Chapter 5: Race vs. Class
  • Chapter 6: Social and Legal Discrimination
  • Chapter 7: Conclusion

Purchase the thesis here.

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Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films, Fourth Edition

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2012-05-09 16:49Z by Steven

Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films, Fourth Edition

Continuum Press
2001-10-24 (First published in 1973)
480 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9780826412676

Donald Bogle, Film Historian

Winner of the 1973 Theatre Library Association Award

Completely updated to include the entire twentieth century, this new fourth edition covers all the latest directors, stars, and films including Summer of Sam, Jackie Brown, The Best Man, and The Hurricane. From The Birth of a Nation—the groundbreaking work of independent filmmaker Oscar Micheaux—and Gone with the Wind to the latest work by Spike Lee, John Singleton, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry and Will Smith, Donald Bogle reveals the ways in which the depiction of blacks in American movies has changed–and the shocking ways in which it has remained the same.

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The White Media: Politics of Representation, Race, Gender and Symbolic Voilence in Brazilian Telenovelas

Posted in Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, United States on 2012-05-09 09:27Z by Steven

The White Media: Politics of Representation, Race, Gender and Symbolic Voilence in Brazilian Telenovelas

University of Texas, Austin
May 2010
47 pages

Monique H. Ribeiro

Report Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of The University of Texas at Austin in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF ARTS

Brazil was the first country in South America to launch a television network and air television shows. Television programming was designed to develop national capitalism and to foster a national identity. Although Brazil is composed of an overwhelmingly large population of African descent, they are usually underrepresented in mainstream media, chiefly in telenovelas (soap operas). This research examines what happens when a telenovela attempts to portray issues of race relations and tensions in contemporary Brazil.

Duas Caras (“Two Faces”), a TV Globo telenovela aired October 1, 2007 to May 31, 2008. The show was a turning point in Brazilian programming because it was the first prime time soap opera to present audiences with an Afro-Brazilian as the main hero. It was also the first novela das oito (“eight o’clock” or “primetime soap opera”) to openly address racial issues through its plot and dialogue. However, in depth critical and theoretical analysis of different episodes demonstrates that instead of debunking the myth of racial democracy, this soap opera in fact helps to further reproduce it through the portrayal of interracial relationships amongst the characters. As shown here, interracial relationships between white and Black Brazilians was used as a strategy of erasing African ancestry traits from the population through a process of whitening.

This report combines a traditional textual analysis of Duas Caras with theoretical frameworks about race relations, gender and anti-Black racism in Brazil. The investigation revealed how telenovelas contribute to social ideology and hegemonic discourses in a way that has not been properly recorded. This discussion contributes to Latin American media studies generally, and the scholarship on interracial relationships in Brazilian media particularly.


  • Telenovela Genealogy
  • The Negative Impact of Telenovelas on Black Social Movements
  • Shutting down the alternative
    • Appendix A
    • Appendix B
    • Appendix C
  • VITA

…An important text to this discussion is A Negacao do Brasil: O Negro na Telenovela Brasileira (“The Negation of Brazil: Blacks in Brazilian Soap Operas), by Brazilian filmmaker AraĂşjo. This book contributes to the debate about the impact of the media on everyday life and the lack of diversity in telenovelas. AraĂşjo provides a great deal of historical background on the overall disenfranchisement of Afro-Brazilian actors and furthers his discussion by providing an analysis of the stereotypical roles often offered to said actors. Despite the immense contribution AraĂşjo makes to Brazilian television studies, one of the major gaps in his scholarship is the lack of a theoretical framework to guide the issues he raises. Thus, in order to close this gap I will use Antonio Gramsci’s concept of hegemony and Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of symbolic violence in order to argue that the media is another site of domination within the state. My research also challenges AraĂşjo’s work by engaging with Abdias do Nascimento’s work Brazil: Mixture or Massacre and Jared Sexton’s Amalgamation Schemes in order to understand the pernicious project of whitening that is stitched in the fabric of Brazilian discourses of harmonious miscegenation and racial democracy and how that is perpetuated in programs like Duas Caras

…The white elite owns Brazilian mainstream media, including TV Globo. Whenever a new soap opera is aired, its author makes his or her rounds in different television shows, magazines, and newspapers in order to publicize the new production. Watching these interviews it, it becomes clear that that Brazil does not have any Black scriptwriters, which complicates the situation, leaving white men and women to construct Blackness according in whatever way they see fit. This way, the dominant class controls what types of ideas are produced in television shows, namely telenovelas. As Sander Gilman suggests, “specific individual realities are thus given mythic extension through association with the qualities of a class. These realities [are] … composed of fragments of the real world, perceived through the ideological bias of the observer.” In the imagination or creative process of writing a telenovela storyline, white scriptwriters do not allow much space for for representations of Black power, whether social, capital, or cultural. It should not be any surprise that “whites appear in disproportionately high numbers as figures of authority and examples of beauty in the Brazilian media.” Because of that the audience is bombarded with images and values of whiteness, and Afro-Brazilians, for the most part, do not have a diverse set of images to relate to or emulate. This control over the images seen on television gives the white bourgeoisie the power to circulate their ideologies (i.e.: racial democracy) to socially subordinate groups. Scholar Liv Sovik when she states that, “hegemonic discourse affirms mestiçagem both as a primary national characteristic and as a token of Brazilian openness to non-racialism and multiplicity.” However, the affirmation of mestiçagem (racial mixing) simply valorizes whitening or white mixing. There is no hegemonic discourse in Brazil that promotes Black-Indigenous mixing, for instance. Consequently, non-whites are socialized to believe that dominant social and cultural norms are natural. In her essay, “Genre and Gender: The Case of Soap Opera,” Christine Gladhill states that “hegemony is won in the to-and-fro of negotiation between competing social, political, and ideological forces through which power is contested, shifted, or reformed.” As we can see, hegemony operates in a much more covert fashion than forceful domination. Hegemony is a contradictory, fraught process that is constantly being challenged by communities who perpetually organize to disrupt and push back against the existing hegemony, while the dominant class must work to reconstitute new hegemonic processes, which brings us to the issue of symbolic violence and how such process of violence is exerted by the media…

…Considering that soap operas are so engrained in Brazilian culture, these teledramas provide a vehicle for symbolic violence to enter the homes of thousands of Black families every night when men and women sit in front of their TVs to consume the messages encoded in the soap operas. Since symbolic violence is unseen and unspoken, telenovelas have the power to affect how people think of themselves and their sense of self-esteem. According to Sander L. Gilman, “visual conventions [are] the primary means by which we perceive and transmit our understanding of the world about us.” As I will discuss in a following section, Aguinaldo Silva partakes in this process of symbolic violence through the hidden message that Black love, specifically Black heterosexual unions must be avoided, suggesting that racial mixing is the ideal model of racial progress. According to Bourdieu, the longer this process of symbolic violence is veiled from and left unchallenged, the more powerful it is in maintaining class dominance and delaying the process of liberation…

Read the entire report here.

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race (2)

Posted in Definitions on 2012-05-09 02:16Z by Steven

Race: A social invention originating as a folk idea and ideology about human differences in order to create a white elite based on white race supremacy and to justify the exploitation of darker skinned people.

Scot Nakagawa, Race Files: On Race and Racism in our Politics and Daily Lives.

“Custodians of History”: (Re)Construction of Black Women as Historical and Literary Subjects in Afro-American and Afro-Cuban Women’s Writing

Posted in Caribbean/Latin America, Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2012-05-09 01:48Z by Steven

“Custodians of History”: (Re)Construction of Black Women as Historical and Literary Subjects in Afro-American and Afro-Cuban Women’s Writing

University of Texas, Austin
August 2005
500 pages

Paula SanmartĂ­n, Assistant Professor of (Afro) Caribbean and (Afro) Spanish American Literature
California State University, Fresno

Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of The University of Texas at Austin in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor in Philosophy

Set within a feminist and revisionist context, my dissertation examines literary representations of the historic roots of black women’s resistance in Cuba and the United States, by studying texts by both Afro-American and Afro-Cuban women from four different literary genres: Harriet Jacobs’s autobiographical slave narrative, a neo-slave narrative by Sherley Ann Williams, the testimonio of María de los Reyes Castillo (“Reyita”), and the poetry of Nancy Morejón and Georgina Herrera. Conscious of the differences between the texts, I nevertheless demonstrate how the writers participate in black women’s self-inscription in the historical process by positioning themselves as subjects of their history and seizing discursive control of their (hi)stories.

Although the texts form part of separate discourses, I explore the commonalities of the rhetorical devices and narrative strategies employed by the authors as they disassemble racist and sexist stereotypes, (re)constructing black female subjectivity through an image of active resistance against oppression, one that authorizes unconventional definitions of womanhood and motherhood. My project argues that in their revisions of national history, these writings also demonstrate the pervasive role of racial and gender categories in the creation of a discourse of national identity, while promoting a historiography constructed within flexible borders that need to be constantly negotiated.

Putting these texts in dialogue with one another both within and across geopolitical boundaries, my project is characterized by a tension between positions, from close textual readings to historical commentaries, as I develop multilayered readings drawing on sources that range from cultural history and genre studies to psychoanalytical theory and black feminist criticism. The authors’ literary representations of their culture of resistance constitute an essential contribution to literary and historical studies, suggesting a dialectic model for “reading dialogically” such concepts as “subjectivity,” “discourse,” “tradition,” and “history,” by simultaneously exploring multiple, contradictory, or complementary discursive spaces. This dialectic of identification and difference, continuity and change, serves to describe the intertextual relationships within Afro-American and Afro-Cuban literary traditions. Simultaneously, drawing on dialogic relationships can open up new lines of enquiry and redress the historical imbalance of Western historiography by presenting black women’s history and subjectivity as multiple and discontinuous.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction. “Custodians of History”: (Re)Construction of Black Women as Historical and Literary Subjects in Afro-American and Afro-Cuban Women’s Writing
    1. Gender and Genre
    2. Authorship and Authority
    3. Rebellious (M)Others
    4. National Identification
    5. Revising (Hi)stories
  • Chapter 1. “We Could Have Told Them a Different Story”: Harriet Jacobs’s Alternative Narrative and the Revision of the White Transcript
    1. Hybrid Genres: Assimilation and Subversion in Autobiographical Slave Narratives
    2. The Female Slave Author and the Dialogic of Discourses in Incidents
    3. “The War of Her life”: Harriet Jacobs’s Rebellious Motherhood
    4. Split Subject/Split Nation: Abolitionism, Miscegenation and Black Women as National Subjects
    5. Rewriting the Slave Woman’s “Histories.”
  • Chapter 2. “They Mistook Me for Another Dessa”: Correcting the (Mis)Reading Techniques of the Master(’s) Narrative
    1. Neo-Slave Narratives and the Revision of the Slaves’ Texts.
    2. “Twice-Told Tales”: Real and Fictive Authorships in a Black Women’s Double-Voiced Text
    3. Devil Woman or Debil Woman?: Asserting Rebelliousness Through an Interracial Sisterhood
    4. One Single Nation?: Interrelation of Communities in Dessa Rose
    5. Revising the Fictions of History
  • Chapter 3. “In My Own Voice, In My Own Place”: The Continuous Revision of History in a Black Cuban Woman’s Testimonial Narrative
    1. The Dialectics of Testimonio: Past, Present and Future?
    2. A Family Feud? “Authority-in-Process” in the Production of Reyita, sencillamente: testimonio de una negra cubana nonagenaria
    3. Like Mother, Like Daughter: The Rebel/Revolutionary (M)Other
    4. Black and/or Cuban: The Black Female (M)Other of the Cuban Nation
  • Chapter 4. Revolution in Poetic Language: (Re)Writing Black Women’s History in Black Cuban Women’s Poetry
    1. Neo-Negrista Poetry? : Searching for the “Authentic” Black Female Subject
    2. Authorship and (State’s) Authority in Black Cuban Women’s Poetry
    3. Black Cuban Women Poets and the Revolutionary Black (M)Other
    4. “National” Poetry? Diaspora and/or Transculturation in the Representation of Cuban National Identity
    5. (Re)construction of (Revolutionary) History
  • Bibliography
  • Vita

Read the entire dissertation here.

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